Energy statistics - latest trends from monthly data
Data extracted in April 2021
Planned article update: April 2022
The COVID-19 restrictions in autumn 2020 had a lesser effect on EU energy supplies than the ones in spring (when comparing with data from 2019).
COVID-19 restrictions on air transport extend drastic slump in deliveries of kerosene-type jet fuel until the end of 2020.
This interactive graph shows the EU total of all fuel types. Use the orange icon on the left to select the individual fuels and the graph will adapt to your choice.
What a difference a year makes!
Since early 2020, EU Member States have been taking restrictive measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19. These measures included the closure of factories, schools and restaurants, and required people to confine themselves in their homes. In late spring, many Member States showed the first signs of recovery and began to remove some restrictions. By late autumn, however, the second COVID-19 wave had started and restrictive measures were put in place again.
This article looks at certain aspects of fuel supply from the recently available monthly data for 2020 for different fuels in the European Union (EU), and compares it with those of 2019 to observe the trends and differences the COVID-19 pandemic may or may not have made in the EU's energy market.
As most economic activities are dependent on electricity, electricity consumption is a possible indicator of the consequences of the restrictive measures. Figure 1 below compares the differences in the consumption of electricity each month with the previous year (2020 is compared with 2019, and 2019 is compared with 2018). It shows a correlation between energy use in the EU and the timing of the first set of restrictive measures. Restrictions in the second half of the year seem to have had a much lower impact on overall electricity consumption than those in the first half of 2020.
Figure 2 below shows the difference in electricity consumption in each of the Member States between 2019 and 2020. Except for Estonia (+0.6 %) and Hungary (0 %), every Member State consumed less electricity in 2020 than in 2019. The impact was small in Belgium (-1.6 %), Bulgaria (-1.7 %) and the Netherlands (-2.1 %), but the biggest impacts were in Greece (-5.6 %), Spain (-5.8 %) and Finland (-6.2 %).
An important additional factor is the heating or cooling of space or water for which certain Member States mostly use electricity. When interpreting the data, the fact that each country has its own consumption pattern and that these can be heavily dependent on outside temperatures must be taken into account.
The use of solid fossil fuels in the EU has been declining steadily for years. Due to high CO2 prices (see EU emission trading scheme) many Member States have reduced their use of coal for electricity generation, and have favoured natural gas instead. The production of hard coal was stopped by several countries even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example by Germany and Spain in 2018, however most EU countries still consume hard coal. Although the EU overall is using less coal, in 2020, 63 % of the coal used was delivered to electricity and heat generation plants, producing 17 % of its electricity needs.
Figure 3 below shows the differences by month in the amounts of inland deliveries of coal to users within the EU between 2019 (the baseline of 0 %) and 2020. A slight dip in inland deliveries of hard coal was observed in April and May. For brown coal, however, the reduction in deliveries was even more obvious during these months.
Figure 4 below indicates the percentage differences in the inland deliveries of both hard coal and brown coal within each Member State between 2019 and 2020. The largest reductions in inland deliveries of hard coal were observed in Estonia (-81 %), Spain (-61 %) and Portugal (-55 %). The largest reductions in inland deliveries of brown coal were observed in Lithuania (-88 %), Spain (-66 %), Greece (-43 %) and Croatia (-40 %). However, the reductions in Estonia for hard coal, and Lithuania and Croatia for brown coal, involved smaller absolute values (see (1) and (2) in Figure 4). The largest overall drops in tonnage were from Poland for hard coal with a drop of 10.7 million tonnes, or 15 % (from 71.7 million tonnes to 61 million tonnes between 2019 and 2020) and Germany for brown coal with a drop of 14.3 million tonnes, or 12 % (from 121.7 million tonnes to 107.4 million tonnes between 2019 and 2020).
Inland deliveries of petroleum products
The oil industry has seen some of the most remarkable differences when comparing energy data from both years.
Figure 5 below shows the differences by month on the deliveries of three different types of fuel within the Member States in 2020 compared with 2019. The first restrictive measures had a dramatic impact on the use of fuels for transport of people and products, and none of the fuels have completely returned to pre-COVID levels since. The reintroduction of restrictive measures in the second half of the year appears to have had a lesser effect on these fuels.
For motor gasoline, Figure 6, there is an overall decrease in deliveries for most of the Member States analysed. The smallest decreases were observed in Finland, Latvia and Denmark, each with -6 %, and the largest decreases in Spain (-21 %), Luxembourg (-23 %) and Ireland (-27 %). EU Member States show a combined decrease of 11.6 % (from 73 million tonnes to 64.5 million tonnes). Only Lithuania increased its use of motor gasoline in 2020 compared with 2019 from 244 kilo tonnes to 252 kilo tonnes (+3 %). The four biggest economies of the Euro Area; Spain, Germany, France and Italy, represent almost 60 % of the total motor gasoline consumption in Europe, and they jointly experienced a decrease of -10.7 %, from 43 million tonnes to 38.4 million tonnes, with Germany (-1.8 million tonnes), France (-1.1 million tonnes), and Spain (-1.1 million tonnes) registering the largest drops in absolute values.
Every Member State's air transport was profoundly affected, and deliveries of kerosene-type jet fuel reduced drastically in 2020, as seen in Figure 7. The smallest reductions occurred in Luxembourg (-19 %), Belgium (-34 %) and Bulgaria (-39 %), while the largest were observed in Cyprus (-69 %), Romania (-75 %) and Croatia (-77 %). In absolute values, Germany reduced deliveries by -5.5 million tonnes, Spain by -4.5 million tonnes and France by -4 million tonnes compared to the previous year.
Only two Member States (see Figure 8) increased their use of gas oil and diesel oil in 2020, Cyprus (+9 %) and Romania (+2 %). The smallest decreases were in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland each with -1 %. The largest decreases were observed in Spain (-13 %), Italy (-15 %) and Luxembourg (-19 %). In absolute values, the largest drop in deliveries of gas and diesel oil compared to 2019 were in France (-5.6 million tonnes), Italy (-4.1 million tonnes) and Spain (-4.0 million tonnes).
Natural gas is used in the production of electricity and heat, and in the EU 22 % of all electricity produced is generated from natural gas and 32 % of natural gas is used to generate electricity. Figure 9 below shows the differences by month of inland deliveries in the EU between 2019 and 2020. Again, the first set of restrictive measures had a more marked effect on the deliveries than the second.
Figure 10 below shows the difference in supply within each Member State's territory. Half of the Member States showed an increase in the consumption of natural gas between 2019 and 2020 and half showed a decrease in the same period. The biggest relative increases were in Slovenia (14 %), Greece and Sweden (both 11 %) and the largest relative decreases were in Estonia (-9 %), Spain (-10 %) and Latvia (-20 %). In absolute values, the largest drop in gas consumption compared to the previous year were in Spain (-3 661 million m3), in Italy (-3 395 million m3), and in France (-3 051 million m3).
Source data for tables and graphs
All values for 2019 and 2020 were calculated by adding the monthly data for each calendar year. All data used in this article correspond to totals of monthly data and as such may differ from the annual data. The reporting is based on Energy Statistics Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008.
To better monitor changes in the energy market, timely data is essential to all involved. Eurostat, therefore, not only collects detailed annual energy statistics but also a reduced number of data points on a monthly basis. This monthly energy data contains information on supply and a limited amount on consumption, but can be published within two to three months, providing very early data on the energy market in each Member State and in the EU as a whole.
- Energy (nrg), see:
- Supply, transformation and consumption - commodity balances - monthly data (nrg_cb_m)
- Supply and transformation of solid fossil fuels - monthly data (nrg_cb_sffm)
- Supply and transformation of oil and petroleum products - monthly data (nrg_cb_oilm)
- Supply, transformation and consumption of gas - monthly data (nrg_cb_gasm)
- Supply, transformation and consumption of electricity - monthly data (nrg_cb_em)
- Energy, transport and environment statistics - 2020 edition
- Energy data - 2020 edition
- Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context — 2020 edition
- Shedding light on energy in the EU — A guided tour of energy statistics — 2020 edition
- Energy statistics - quantities (European and national ESMS metadata file — nrg_quant_esms)
- Energy statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (monthly) (ESMS metadata file — nrg_10m_esms)
Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics
- This part of the article focuses on the two most widely used types of coal hard coal and brown coal. Hard coal accounts for 63 % of the total coal supply in the EU, while brown coal accounts for 36 %.
- “Inland deliveries” refer to calculated gross inland deliveries, represented as the sum of production, recovered products (when applicable), the trade balance (imports – exports) and stock changes.
- Cyprus is an exception, because oil-products are the main fuel source for generating electricity (90 % in 2019)